HBO And PBS Announce Unprecedented Partnership To Air Three Original HBO Productions on Nuclear Terrorism, Genocide and Aids
Presentations On PBS To Be Followed By Panel Discussions With Experts
Co-Produced By HBO And WETA Washington, D.C.
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 13, 2005 -- In an unprecedented arrangement, three provocative films from Home Box Office will be distributed through PBS for broadcast television following their HBO premiere, announced jointly today by Chris Albrecht, chairman and CEO, Home Box Office, and Pat Mitchell, president and CEO, PBS. In addition, HBO and PBS member station WETA Washington, D.C., will co-produce, along with the Council on Foreign Relations, related panel discussions to follow each film on PBS, featuring leading experts and moderated by noted journalist Jeff Greenfield, to follow each film on PBS.
"These movies address three of the most important issues of the 21st century, including nuclear terrorism, global AIDS and genocide in Africa," said Albrecht. "We are pleased to expand the audience for these extraordinary films by offering them to PBS viewers, and we're proud to help illuminate each subject with discussions by leading experts in those fields."
Noted Mitchell, "PBS' mandate is to foster an engaged, informed citizenry through content that offers insight and sparks meaningful dialogue. These films do just that, and we are pleased to partner with HBO to extend the value of the films through televised panel discussions of these critical global issues. As the nation's largest public service broadcaster, reaching nearly every household in America, we're proud to present these important films on PBS and allow them to reach an even wider audience."
Colin Callender, president of HBO Films, added, "We are always looking for innovative ways to bring HBO Films to a wider audience. Along with our successful ventures into theatrical release, this partnership with PBS is a bold and exciting way of doing that."
The first film, DIRTY WAR, tells the fictional story of a radiological "dirty bomb" attack on central London and debuts MONDAY, JAN. 24 at 9:00 p.m. (ET/PT), on HBO. DIRTY WAR is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 23 at 9:00 p.m. (check local listings) on PBS. Directed by Dan Percival who wrote the screenplay with Lizzie Mickery, this HBO Films/BBC Films production is based on extensive research by the BBC factual department and asks the questions: Are our emergency services fully prepared for a nuclear attack? How much does the public have a right to know?
The PBS presentation of DIRTY WAR in February will be followed by a half-hour panel discussion with experts in homeland security, emergency preparedness, nuclear weapons and terrorism.
The second film, SOMETIMES IN APRIL, is the first large-scale movie about the 1994 Rwandan genocide to be shot in Rwanda where the real-life events transpired. Written, directed and executive produced by acclaimed director Raoul Peck (HBO's "Lumumba"), this epic tale show follows a Hutu family as they are torn apart by the realities of ethnic cleansing; the film also explores the response of the First World to the atrocities, as well as the Truth and Reconciliation Hearings that followed ten years later. Starring Idris Elba (HBO's "The Wire") and Debra Winger (Oscar nominee for "Shadowlands," "Terms of Endearment" and "An Officer and a Gentleman"), the film will debut on HBO in March and be seen on PBS stations in April.
The third film, YESTERDAY, is a story of courage, compassion and hope, set in contemporary South Africa, that puts a human face on the politics and statistics of the AIDS crisis, following the struggles of a young mother who has been diagnosed with AIDS. Written and directed by Darrell Roodt ("Sarafina!," "Cry, the Beloved Country") and executive produced by Anant Singh, it has been submitted by South Africa as the country's entry for the outstanding foreign film category in this year's Oscars. YESTERDAY will be scheduled later in the year.
Producing a broad slate of projects that runs the gamut from low-budget independents to big-event movies, HBO Films productions inspire critical praise and numerous honors. At last September's Primetime Emmys, HBO Films presentations received 44 nominations, and won 15 awards. "Angels in America" topped HBO's list of wins with 11 Emmys, the most of any show on TV last season, while "Something the Lord Made" led all made-for-TV-movies with three Emmys, including Made for Television Movie. In the recent Golden Globe nominations, HBO Films received nine nominations, including four for "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers" and three for "Iron Jawed Angels."
Released theatrically in 2004, HBO Films' "Maria Full of Grace" has been named to more than 100 critics' Top Ten lists for the year and previously captured the 2004 Sundance Audience Award - the third year in a row that HBO Films has received a top award at the festival. Another HBO Films theatrical release, Gus Van Sant's "Elephant," won the 2003 Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
PBS is a private, nonprofit media enterprise that serves the nation's 349 public noncommercial television stations, reaching nearly 90 million people each week through on-air and online content. Bringing diverse viewpoints to television and the Internet, PBS provides high-quality documentary and dramatic entertainment, and consistently dominates the most prestigious award competitions. PBS is the leading provider of educational materials for K-12 teachers, and offers a broad array of educational services for adult learners. PBS' premier kids' TV programming and Web site, PBS KIDS Online (pbskids.org), continue to be parents' and teachers' most trusted learning environments for children. More information about PBS is available at pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org Web sites on the Internet, averaging more than 30 million unique visits and 380 million page views per month in 2004. PBS is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia.
WETA is the third-largest producing station in the PBS system and the flagship public broadcaster in the nation's capital. Among WETA's productions and co-productions are "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" and "Washington Week." For more than 20 years WETA has been the production partner of filmmaker Ken Burns, a collaboration that has produced such documentaries as "The Civil War," "Jazz" and, coming to PBS Jan. 17, "Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson." Sharon Percy Rockefeller is president and CEO of WETA. For more information on WETA and its programs, visit weta.org.
Academy Award and Oscar are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
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Quentin Schaffer, HBO New York, 212/512-1329; homeboxoffice.com
Nancy Lesser, HBO Los Angeles, 310/382-3274; homeboxoffice.com
Stephanie Aaronson, PBS, 703/739-5074; firstname.lastname@example.org
Carrie Johnson, PBS, 703/739-5129; email@example.com